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How to Repurpose a Vintage Chair to Hold a Garden Bouquet

My chair planter: before and after

My chair planter: before and after

DIY Chair Planter Project

I have wanted a chair planter for years. I searched magazines and online sites showing beautiful planters on decks, patios and porches. Originally, I wanted to buy one, but the prices were rather steep. Finally, I decided to take the plunge and make one.

I purchased this chair about 10 years ago with the intention of starting a new hobby. The back of the cane seat was ripped and I wanted to re-cane the seat. I even purchased a kit online. It came with instructions and all the materials to complete one cane seat. I never got around to doing it and eventually lost interest in taking up this new skill.

Step 1: Find a Cane Chair

Once I decided to make my own chair planter, I was at my local thrift store looking at chairs when I remembered this one was sitting in my garage!

I prepped the chair by dusting it off and wiping it down with a mixture of water and mild dish detergent.

As shown in photos below, the cane was already torn near the back of the chair. I used that as my starting point and cut around the seat with a strong scissor, staying as close to the edges of the chair as I could.


Step 2: Remove the Cane Seat

The center of the seat was easily removed as you can see below. I kept the seat for possible future projects.


Step 3: Remove the Cane Stitching

After removing the center of the seat, I had to remove the cane stitching around the edges. The cane was woven through holes in the wood from top to bottom as you can see in the photo below.

So I took a wire cutter and cut the stitching on the bottom, and then used a pliers to pull the stitching out from the top of the chair. It took a bit of pulling and tugging. It's slow going because the cane was old and kept cracking, which made it impossible to remove more than bits and pieces at a time. It was also pretty thick and difficult to cut. Pieces got stuck in the holes and had to be pushed out with a screwdriver.


Step 4: Paint and Decorate

I was able to remove all of the cane and was ready to get started decorating the chair.

Here's all the supplies you'll need.

Here's all the supplies you'll need.

Caulk Paint

I didn't want to do any sanding, so I used some leftover chalk paint: Waverly Inspirations Acrylic Chalk Paint. The price is pretty reasonable and I like the colors it comes in.

I love refinishing wood with chalk paint. Even if the wood has a glossy finish, the chalk paint just glides on smoothly and sticks to a high-gloss finish. It's best to use a natural bristle brush when using chalk paint. It gives a smooth finish. If you use a synthetic brush, it leaves too many brush strokes where the original finish shows through.

Acrylic Paint

I also used Folk Art and American acrylic paints for the colors I didn't have in chalk paint. Another reason I love chalk paint is its versatility. I can easily use matte or glossy acrylic paint over the chalk paint, and the coverage is excellent.

I use both glossy and matte finishes, because my intention is to cover the finished chair with a strong protectant like the Outdoor Satin Sealer by Folk Art, which will give a nice satin finish in a nice balance between glossy and matte.

Note: The vitamin bottle in the photo below is one the many things I use to mix paints to the color I want.


Mixing Colors

As shown in the photo below, I started with a pink chalk paint. I was hoping to use flowers in a range of pinks. But the pink just did not pop. So I went with a bright orange. I also decided the chalk green was too boring. So I went with mixed an acrylic metallic green paint with a bit of the original chalk green.


I added some yellow to give a feeling of summer fun!

My intention had been to enlarge the opening with a jigsaw by going through the holes and inserting a large round plastic pot. But I had a square basket that fit nicely in the opening. I inserted the basket and then settled a pot with multiple plants inside the square basket. It fit perfectly.


Step 5: Add the Finishing Touches

But now I had the issue of the holes. I considered running some natural-looking rope through the holes, but I ended up buying moss from Dollar Tree and hot glued it around the chair seat to cover the holes.

I inserted a few fake flowers to fill out the arrangement until the plants grew larger and overflowed the chair. I love the finished product! I have an old rocking chair with a cane seat. I might make another chair planter!

Happy repurposing!


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Veronica Lewis